'Taken for ride': Mumbai housing society residents allege vaccination scam
Hundreds of residents from a plush residential complex in Mumbai are worried - if they have been given shots of fake coronavirus vaccines. Residents say they did not develop any known post-vaccination side-effects and were likely issued bogus vaccination certificates. Hospitals mentioned on their certificates have denied any involvement in the vaccination camp while the police has launched a probe.
Vaccination drive was reportedly held on May 30
The Hiranandani Heritage Residents Welfare Association in Kandivali (West) has now complained to the local police, saying 390 residents were administered fake COVID-19 vaccines. The so-called vaccination drive was held at the building premises on May 30. The jabs were provided at a price of Rs. 1,260 per dose and, all in all, the society paid Rs. 5 lakh to the organizers.
No payment invoice, no digital registration
Residents say the drive seemed suspicious from the very start. Firstly, they did not receive any invoice after making the payment for the shots, according to The Times of India. There was also no digital registration and the organizers allegedly jotted down the residents' Aadhaar numbers on paper. What astonished them the most, however, was they did not develop any common post-vaccination side-effects.
Vaccination certificates, issued days later, were likely forged
Vaccination certificates were issued days after the drive, though they are usually generated the same day. And when the residents finally received them, they carried names of different hospitals - Nanavati Hospital, Lifeline Hospital, Kokilaben Ambani Hospital, Nesco BMC vaccination center, among others. They were even not allowed to take pictures while receiving the jab, Hitesh Patel, a resident told India Today.
'Received certificates after 10-15 days'
"We only received certificate after 10-15 days (sic)," Hrishabh Kamdar, a building resident, said. "Many people also checked their status on Co-WIN [government portal] only to find out on the portal that they were yet to get their first dose," said another.
Hospitals deny involvement in the 'vaccination drive'
All the four aforementioned hospitals have reportedly denied taking part in the said vaccination drive. "It has been brought to our notice that residents of a Kandivali-based housing society were issued COVID-19 vaccination certificates in the name of Nanavati Hospital. We wish to clarify that we have not conducted any vaccination camp at the complex...and are lodging a formal complaint," the Nanavati Hospital said.
Police carrying out probe, questioning underway
Officials of the Mumbai Police said they are investigating the matter from all angles and verifying the facts. If any irregularities are found, action will be taken, they added. They have reportedly questioned two of the three accused involved in organizing the camp - Sanjay Gupta and Rajesh Pandey. However, the whereabouts of a third accused, Mahendra Singh, are still not known, cops said.
My only job was to coordinate with people: Gupta
Gupta, however, told the Free Press Journal that his only job on the day of the drive was to coordinate with the people. "I was told that I would be paid Rs 1,000 for a day's work and I have no more information about this."
'We don't know what went into our bodies'
Understandably, the residents are now worried about their health as they are unsure what was injected into their bodies in the guise of life-saving vaccines. "I want to know the authenticity of the vaccine...We want to know what has gone into our bodies...We think this is a big scam that is being carried out in different places," said resident Dhara Madani.